I don’t remember much about the book from school, but The Call of the Wild was worth the visit to the theatre. Although the movie likely intends no Christian worldview, there were definitely some lessons that were worth more than gold.

For example, John Thornton (played by Harrison Ford) is a grieving father whose loss of his son evidently also destroyed his marriage. The adventure out into the land ‘beyond the map’ was an attempt to carry on what he regretted not doing with his boy. Nonetheless, he learned somewhere along the path that while everyone else was going out to find gold, that a man is happiest when he has just enough. Humorous scenes by the dog named Buck add to this part of the narrative picking up a large boulder only to throw it back in to the river because his owner for one doesn’t see it and for another thing is happy to be finding the little nuggets. Upon packing up to leave, John Thornton throws the gold he doesn’t need back into the river and simply keeps in his pocket what will buy him ‘groceries for life’! The audience in the theatre I was in gasped at this point, showing how counter-cultural such an idea is! In contrast, the antagonist presents a very different picture leading ultimately to where all the love for money leads.

Another lesson was that of whiskey being unable to solve one’s problems. Seeking to take away the pain of a broken marriage and dead son, the bottle was nearby for John Thornton. In comes Buck who with his humorous stare and at times tenacious methods who at least twice compels John Thornton to give up the bottle. Sometimes dogs are smarter than humans, or at least made to serve them well.

What should parents know? There is one H word from what I picked up on. And for Christians there may be some discomfort about the spirit dog per se that shows up in a few places throughout the movie almost as a picture of strength behind Buck. But in my estimation he ultimately disappears and doesn’t dominate the main storyline. That is, I find there is a lot more redemptive to find in this movie that overshadows what might have even been intended to be glorified. As in many cases, unbelievers may very well have a story to tell Christians that is more Christian than they realize. One that deals well with the love of money and the inability for man’s problems to be solved by his own methods.

There is a call of the wild that ultimately this story points to for believers like myself, that call is to not live like the world, but to go to the One who alone heals our deepest hurts on a journey of a lifetime called Christian discipleship. But to each their own. I think the movie can be enjoyed by all, but some will find it even better realizing the gift of all good story writing comes from above.